Statement of CSPI Vice President of Programs Anupama Joshi

Historically, lawmakers have worked on a bipartisan basis to craft a Farm Bill that supports both consumers and farmers. A bipartisan bill can be a win-win for Republicans and Democrats alike.

The detailed Farm Bill framework released today by Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow is very much in the tradition of previous Farm Bills. This framework supports consumers and farmers, protects the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and prioritizes food and nutrition security in ways that both parties should agree on.

The Senate framework maintains Congress’ ability to keep the Thrifty Food Plan up to date as envisioned in the bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill. It’s important for food and nutrition security to keep SNAP benefit calculations aligned with the marketplace. It also increases funding for the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP), which advances nutrition security by increasing access to fruits and vegetables and supports local farmers, all while reducing the state match requirement to lower the bar of entry so more organizations can participate. The Senate framework additionally upholds equitable nutrition access by expanding SNAP access for college students, people formerly incarcerated, and residents of Puerto Rico.

Further, the Senate framework would require the U. S. Department of Agriculture to measure and regularly report on food and nutrition security. This would be a huge step forward for understanding how SNAP both meets participants’ needs and can be improved. Finally, the framework establishes critical support to ensure nutritious, culturally appropriate food is available for families that rely on the emergency food system, while bolstering local farmers and reducing food waste.

Senator Stabenow’s proposal stands in stark contrast to the partisan proposal under consideration in the House, which undermines Americans’ food and nutrition security.

As Congress continues to debate the Farm Bill, we urge lawmakers to move forward in a bipartisan manner. Congress should include critical provisions laid out in the Senate framework that support SNAP access and benefit adequacy, increase the availability of healthy food in the emergency food system, support local farmers, and ultimately advance food and nutrition security for everyone in the US.